The University of Victoria Formula Motorsport team is facing a major setback after thousands of dollars worth of car parts were stolen from the team’s trailer on the UVic campus Wednesday night.
And while about $3,000 worth of parts were taken, the team says its the custom pieces that are truly irreplaceable, especially as they head towards the yearly Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) competition in Michigan – an international battle thats puts motorsport teams from around the world go head to head.
In 2018, the UVic team was ranked number one in Canada and 36th in the world. While their status has dipped, they were hoping to get back to number one at this year’s competition with their 2019 competition car, the UV19.
But last week the team found a number the car’s vital parts were missing. Thieves had taken a pelican case, steering wheel, steering column and steering rack, among other important components of the team’s race car.
“The electrical board was designed and made up by three electrical engineering students who already graduated,” said project manager Stephen Bradley. “And the steering wheel is irreplaceable.”
The steering wheel and column had been improved upon year after year since it was first built about three years ago, Bradley explained.
“I don’t know if it’s a crime of opportunity… or if someone has seen us working around and maybe knew what we [had].”
For the most part, Bradley says the items will be useless in terms of resale value, especially as more people learn about the theft.
“The value is in the time and effort put into them,” the group posted to Facebook last week. “If you know where they are feel free to contact the team directly, or leave them in a place that we can obtain them. This includes at the workshop where they were taken, in front of the office in ELW, or somewhere safe with an easily solved riddle about their whereabouts.”
With the SAE competition looming, Bradley says the theft could hinder their success. They haven’t been able to run proper tests on the race car for tuning and reliability.
Now the UVic motorsports team has come up against another barrier as the truck they usually use to haul their race car to Michigan has mechanical issues and won’t be fixed in time.